On the of-fence-ive

I was down the hill yesterday afternoon, topping up the horses’ hay, when I heard a clanking noise.  It sounded awfully like someone was driving a large piece of machinery down my top field.  I scrambled up the muck heap to have a look and sure enough, a bright yellow JCB digger was churning its way over towards me.  It was Graeme, here to start replacing the 440m of fencing I need doing.

As horses and bright yellow diggers aren’t usually a happy combination, he left it parked there overnight and this morning I had the job of persuading the boys that they wanted to come down the road to the field at 166.  They didn’t turn a hair at the digger, or at the enormous tractor and trailer parked on the drive, but apparently a red sheep lick tub that’s blown into a ditch needs a Very Hard Stare.

Anyway, Graeme and his team have had a productive day down the road at Ethel’s House.  The little garden area is marked out with strainers and fenceposts.

They’ve put a drain in to tie the extra downpipe Pete suggested we added into the rest of the drains (and accidentally went through the water main, but they’ve promised me they’ll fix it tomorrow!  They missed the BT cable though).

The old gate is off and the new wooden main gate and side gate are ready for hanging.  I’ll be painting them dark green to match the front door.

The slightly rickety wooden fence is gone from the front and new fenceposts and strainers are in.  I’m hoping that the wire fencing won’t get in the way of the view so much as the old fence did.

And it’s been ripped out in front of the byres as well, meaning I’ve got some visitors!

They’ve also put in strainers and fenceposts for the sections we need doing at home and tomorrow they’ll do the same for the big field up the road – then the second digger can go off to its next job and they’ll start putting the wire up.

It’s good to talk

I was typing away at my day job yesterday (I’m a freelance transcriber and virtual assistant) when the dog started barking and shot outside – a sure sign that I have a visitor. I followed her out and, to my surprise, saw John’s car halfway down my drive. We’ll pass the time of day if we meet and wave to each other if we drive past, but this is only the second time in over seven years he’s come to visit me and I suspected I knew why he’d come – John was Ethel’s partner for the best part of 25 years. I don’t know the full story of what went down between him and Ethel’s children after she died, but it ended up with angry accusations on both sides and the police getting involved, so I was slightly nervous about what he might want to say to me.

Turns out it was about poo. Specifically, one of these:

There’s no mains drainage out here, we’re all on septic tanks and John had kindly come to warn me that the tank for the house blocks fairly regularly, every three months or so, so I might want to look at getting it sorted.  I’ve adjusted my mental budget accordingly, because I suspect ‘getting it sorted’ might involve digging the whole thing out and installing a new one.

In the end, since it was a lovely sunny day, John and I stayed chatting over the gate for the best part of an hour.  He talked about Ethel, told me stories about when they were younger and his face lit up as he laughed at the memories.  He might be nearly 72, but when he smiles it takes a good 15 years off him.